It’s the Harper Collins Preview Spectacular. Part One.
Mmm. Nothing like a warm cup of Harper Collins Previews to start you off on your day.
I always like to begin a blog post by pointing out my own ignorance/insufficiencies/what have you. It shows that I grow. Or maybe mocking yourself is just an easy way to begin any article. Whatever the case, until last Wednesday or so I had no idea that Harper Collins even had out-and-out librarian previews. I’d been to the Greenwillow parties, sure. Those are fun. But they usually consist of walking about the HC offices, peeking through the windows, admiring art, and eating a variety of small carefully portioned out cheeses. So how was I to know that official librarian previews even existed at Harper?
Whatever the case, the entire hooplah was to take place at 1211 6th Avenue on the 3rd floor. I’d never been to 1211 6th Avenue before. For all I know the building must have a name because it is gi-enormous. One of those places where you have to tell the elevator your floor before you step in. Apparently buttons inside of elevators is passé. I made a note.
Once we were on the correct floor we passed a little cafeteria and gym. Apparently people who work in this building get free gym membership. This is a very good idea. I think the New York Public Library should do the same. I’d love a small gym in the basement of my building, somewhere between the decaying film strips and the plants that somehow manage to live in spite of the complete and total lack of sunlight. I mentioned this possibility to my Materials Specialist. She didn’t seem as enthused. I’ll have to work on the art of persuasion to show her how brilliant a plan it could be.
The official presentation room consisted of lots of little round tables. This reminded me of the Little Brown & Co. librarian previews, with two important differences. 1) At LB&Co. you stay sitting pretty and the editors are the ones who move. At HC, you have to pick up and jump from table to table. 2) The food, while good (think cookies the size of your knee) was not LB&Co. good. There is no shame in this. LB&Co. kind of wipes the floor with everyone else sustinence-wise. And there was Coke available. Points there. Also they were clever pookies and each table gave us a handy-dandy powerpoint print-off on which to take notes. We soon discovered that smart editors would ask each group where their interest lay (YA or children’s). Then they’d adapt their presentations accordingly.
But it’s the books that are important here. So let’s give ’em their due. I’ll do this in the order of the tables visited. Table #3 was up first with Virginia Duncan and Steve Geck of Greenwillow Books making their case. Cutting an impressive figure behind us was the formidable presence of Mimi Kayden. Some of you may recall the I Like Mimi buttons floating about the ALA Convention Center floor this time last year. Those referred to this woman. She had an egg timer in her hand and she knew how to use it. Each table was given 15 minutes. You speak, you discuss, then the *ding* goes off and you shuffle to another table. Easy peasy.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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